5 Reasons Not To Eat Tilapia, AKA 'Aquatic Chicken'

I love fish. I really do. I have been catching wild fish with my own hands and rod since I can remember: respecting it from stream to plate. In my eyes, cooking a piece of fish is art - it is delicate, requires attention, intention, and finesse. No two pieces are the same, nor should they be treated as such. Like all food, fish should be treated with respect. I could (and will) walk you through the art of fish cookery - unfortunately, I have never cooked and never will cook a piece of Tilapia. Here is why...

It looks like fish...it tastes like fish...but it does not have the benefits of fish...at all...

I have always been shocked by how many people love tilapia. For me, my aversion to the fish started when I was in middle school and took a trip to an alligator farm in Colorado. Weird? It only got weirder. There is no Tilapia equivalent of free range. Attached to this farm were barrels of murky restless water...as it turns out this is what a tilapia farm looks like. What I learned is that you cannot find Tilapia in the wild. It is a man-made, farm-bred fish. Now, I have faith that farmed tilipia can be done responsibly, but unfortunately the majority of these farms feed the fish GMO corn and soy which breeds toxic pieces of protein that are harmful to humans and our environment. So...why should you not eat tilipia? 

1. Recent Studies have found that farm-raised tilapia may cause more inflammation – farm-raised tilapia has always been a popular source for fish, not only because it is widely available in the US, but it is also very inexpensive. However, before you stock up on tilapia, you may want to know about its correlation to inflammation.

Recent studies have concluded that eating tilapia may worsen inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and a world of other serious health problems. People who resort to eating more fish as a way to get their dose of omega-3-fatty-acids and lessen their risk of heart attacks may want to hold off on the tilapia. In fact, scientists have found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon!

2. Farmed fish may have at least 10 times the amount of cancer-causing organic pollutants compared to the wild variety – this can most likely be attributed to the feeds that are used on farm-raised fish. If you knew what went into the feeds of farm-raised fish you would be horrified. Apparently, chicken feces is one of the main ingredients that go into farm fish feed. Not only that, the transfer of pig and duck waste to fish farms is also a very common practice.

3. Farm-bred fish have been found to have high concentrations of antibiotics and pesticides – where do farm-bred fish get their antibiotics? The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, farm owners give antibiotics to the fish to stave off disease. Farm-bred fish are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. The pesticides used to treat these fish are so deadly that they have been caused to kill wild salmon that are accidentally exposed to them. These pesticides are also eventually released in the ocean where they get into the bodies and systems of other marine life.

4. Farm-bred fish also have lower levels of healthy nutrients- many of us consume fish, hoping to reap the omega-3 fatty acid benefits that come with it. However, did you know that the omega-3 acids that are found in farm-raised fish are less usable to our bodies compared to wild bred fish? Farm-raised fish also has a lower protein content. Not only that, because farm-raised fish are kept in cages, they have the tendency to be fattier, and can have a higher concentration of omega-6 acids. The problem with getting too much omega-3 and omega-6 acids is that they may cause inflammation to the body.

5. Dioxin levels are 11 times higher in farm-bred fish compared to wild fish – dioxin is actually a very toxic chemical that can contribute to cancer and other complications. The problem with dioxin is that once it enters our system, it can take a very long time until it is let out. The half life of dioxin is about 7 to 11 years.

Source - Inform Africa